Rapper, model and reality star Benji Fetch will release his first full-length album, “’Butchqueen 2: The Misinterpretation of Benji Fetch,” on November 17. Benji, 28, is an up-and-coming performer from Marietta who hopes to deconstruct harmful stereotypes about queer Black men.
Forced to move from place to place as he grew up in and around Marietta, Benji feels prepared for a life of travel but wonders what his life would be like if he’d stayed in one place.
“I can only imagine if I would’ve stayed in the same place all those years that I could’ve really built a true foundation and friendships,” Benji said in an interview with Georgia Voice.
At 19, Benji joined the Army where he worked as a healthcare specialist and paramedic for two years. He felt it was his “only way out” after being disowned by his father for being gay and breaking up with his first boyfriend.
“I come from a very, very, very poor background,” Benji said. “But my father came into a lot of money before died. He was a hustler… I got to kind of see a little through him of what life outside of poverty looked like.”
Benji recently joined the cast of Roku’s “Haus of Status,” an LGBTQ reality show where mentors known for their “bad boy” personas support Black queer creatives. He will also appear in Bravo’s “Married to Medicine,” which premiered November 4. As a child, Benji turned to reality TV for comfort.
“I think it reflected the drama in my home, but it was a much more controlled environment,” he said.
Much of Benji’s career is about redefining what it means to be queer. He describes himself as a “butch queen,” balanced between masculinity and femininity. Last year, Benji released the three-track “Butchqueen: The EP,” inspired by the ballroom category for gay men.
Through music, Benji says he wants to inspire queer Black men to reject stereotypes that discourage vulnerability and authenticity, which he says creates opportunities for cyclical abuse and volatile relationships.
“Queer, especially gay, Black men aren’t accepted everywhere,” he said. “So, we go and find other gay Black men who will accept us. Then this person who also wasn’t accepted is taken advantage of. The abused becomes the abuser.”
After an especially rocky and isolating relationship, Benji says the most direct route to happiness is self-acceptance and self-discovery.
“You have to find yourself, find what makes you happy. Then, allow love to accent your happiness.”
“Butchqueen 2: The Misinterpretation of Benji Fetch” will be available November 17. For updates, follow @iam_benjifetch on Instagram.